Best Softball Glove for 2018

Ready to play softball? The right glove will help you improve your game and assist your team by helping you catch as many balls as you can. At the same time, it will elevate your confidence and protect your catching hand from discomfort.  This buyer’s guide provides details on several of the gloves preferred by youth and recreational players as well as those who take their game more seriously.

Identifying a Softball Glove

Whether you’re into Slow pitch or Fastpitch softball, you’ll want to follow the rules laid out by USA Softball: All players must wear a glove measuring no more than fourteen inches, and pitchers may have no white on their gloves.

There are a few different types of softball gloves:

Catchers gloves, which are also known as catcher’s mitts have no separate finger holes; additionally, they contain extra padding.

First basemen’s softball gloves are also referred to as mitts; these contain more padding than standard softball mitts. They are differentiated from catcher’s mitts by the fact that they feature separate finger holes. Most adult-size first base mitts measure 12 to 12.5 inches, while youth first base mitts are usually between 9 and 10 inches.

Infielders’ gloves usually measure between 10.5 and 11.5 inches for adults and 9 and 10 inches for youths, making for faster access to balls once they’ve been caught. Open backs provide flexibility; if you’re playing third base, you might want a closed web. Other infield positions might benefit from open webs.

Outfielders’ gloves are a bit larger, typically measuring between 12 and 13 inches for adults and 11 and 12 inches for youths. The additional surface area provides just a little more reach, making it easer to access fast-moving fly balls. Closed backs and closed webs offer the support needed for catching line drives.

Utility gloves are meant for players who swap between infield and outfield positions. A closed web design provides stability, while an open back enhances mobility.

Pitchers’ gloves may be of any size up to the maximum allowance of 14 inches. The main concern is to ensure that the glove is large enough to conceal the pitcher’s grip from the batter.

DeMarini Diablo Slow Pitch Glove

Made of ECCO leather for lasting durability, the DeMarini Diablo Slow Pitch Glove offers a combination of quality, fit, and comfort. This glove features a Sorbothane shock-absorbing palm that prevents discomfort while still allowing players to feel the ball.  An adjustable Velcro ® fastener provides a secure fit.

DeMarini Diablo Slow Pitch Glove, Right-Handed Throw

Being one of the best mens softball glove, the DeMarini Diablo Slow Pitch softball glove features Dri-Lex ® Ultra breathable lining inside the fingers and wrist back. This lining transfers moisture away from the player’s hand for cool, dry comfort. A crossbar web adds flexibility and reduces break-in time.

Pros:

  • Opens and closes easily
  • Good quality for the price
  • Suitable for a variety of positions including outfield and middle infield
  • Big size fits players with large hands

Cons:

  • Not many color choices
  • One reviewer mentioned that leather laces snapped after 3 games

The DeMarini Diablo Slow Pitch glove is a great choice for players with large hands, but those with small to average hands might find that it feels oversized. This softball glove gets excellent ratings for comfort and players appreciate the ability to use it after only a short breaking-in period. While one reviewer had a problem with durability, the majority of users report that they enjoy using this glove over the course of multiple softball seasons. 

Easton Synergy Elite Fastpitch Series Glove

Available in 12”, 12.5”, and 13” sizes, the Easton Synergy Elite Fastpitch Series Glove offers a combination of outstanding durability and great looks. This series includes right- and left-hand throw models, as well as catcher’s mitts and 1st baseman’s mitts.  Designed with the frequent player in mind, Easton Synergy Elite softball gloves are made with 365 ™ steerhide that has been deer tanned for added flexibility. Oiled Hog ™ palm lining over VRS ™ shock absorbing palm padding prevents discomfort.

 

Easton Synergy Elite Fastpitch series softball gloves are ergonomically designed to fit female hands while offering an appealing combination of comfort and performance. A Lock Down ™ wrist strap provides added security for confident catching.

Pros:

  • Optimized to fit female players
  • Sponge tricot finger lining adds comfort
  • Made with premium materials
  • Available in a variety of configurations and sizes

Cons:

  • Some reviewers report receiving a different model
  • Palm padding may flatten after several games

 

If the Easton Synergy Elite Fastpitch series softball glove lives up to its reputation, you’ll find yourself wearing it and enjoying it, one game after another. Considering reports of incorrect models being shipped, it’s a good idea to double-check the seller’s return policy in the event you receive the wrong glove.

Franklin Sports Fastpitch Series Lightweight Softball Glove

A good all-around softball glove for beginners and just right for those who have budget as a primary consideration, the Franklin Sports Fastpitch Series comes in attractive black and pink as well as vibrant lime and grey colors. At just 10 ounces, it’s a lighter alternative to traditional leather gloves. Rawhide lacing contributes strength, while a mesh shell provides easy care.

Thanks to its breathability, this softball glove is ideal for those who want to play for fun during hot summer weather. The 12” size makes it a good fit for young girls as well as average women; a variety of players report a comfortable fit. Because it is not reinforced with extra padding, this may not be the best glove for outfielders.

Pros:

  • Affordable price
  • Soft PU requires no breaking in prior to use
  • Light weight
  • Works surprisingly well considering the low cost

Cons:

  • Not as durable as leather
  • Pocket doesn’t grip the ball well

If you are a small-statured adult or have a young player at home, then you might like the way this glove fits and functions. While basic, it is a good budget softball glove that’s designed with lightweight comfort in mind. If you’re looking for a durable glove that will last for multiple seasons, then you may want to consider a leather model instead of this synthetic one.

Mizuno Franchise GFN1400S2 Adult Outfield / Utility Slow Pitch or Fastpitch Softball Glove

A classic brown leather softball glove with alternating rawhide laces for better flexibility, the Mizuno Franchise GFN1400S2 is pre-oiled. With a Tartan H Web for a good grip on the ball, it features a Parashock Palm Pad for greater comfort and better control. A PowerLock strap ensures a good fit.

While suitable for outfield use, this softball glove really shines when used for infield positions. It arrives ready for play, and like other quality gloves, improves with regular use.

Pros:

  • Parashock Palm Pad deadens balls on impact
  • PowerLock strap offers a secure fit
  • QuickForm Laces are easy to tighten around the fingers

Cons:

  • Requires quite a bit of breaking in prior to use
  • Many players report a tight fit at first

The Mizuno Franchise GFN1400S2 softball glove offers outstanding flexibility, and is built to last through multiple seasons while providing a good level of comfort. It is made with premium materials and includes a number of technical features that contribute to performance as well as feel. Players with large hands tend to find that this glove is a bit too tight, although many report that it does relax and fit better after a long breaking in period. While game-ready out of the box, it becomes better with age.

Mizuno Prospect Series Fast Pitch Softball Glove

An excellent choice for players who are ready to take their game to the next level, the Mizuno Prospect Series Fast Pitch Softball glove comes in different configurations to suit a variety of positions and player sizes. Made with ParaShock palm pads that take the sting out of catching, these softball gloves feature Mizuno’s patented PowerClose feature and Tartan Hi-Lo Web, plus a V Flex Notch for quick, easy closing. Butter Soft lining adds comfort.

 

Pros:

  • Arrives broken in, gets even better after use
  • Technical features make catching comfortable and secure
  • Deep pocket prevents dropped balls
  • Adjustable wrist strap allows glove to accommodate different-sized players

Cons:

  • One report that the webbing starts to feel as if it has too much give after a few months
  • One report of lacing that dry-rotted and broke after a month of use
  • Reports of broken straps

Thanks to high-quality materials and a thoughtful design, this softball glove provides many players with several seasons of good use. A few reports of faulty materials make it advisable for potential buyers to check return / warranty conditions prior to committing to purchase.

 

Rawlings Gamer Softball Glove

The Rawlings Gamer Softball Glove series is designed specifically to accommodate female athletes while providing good ball control. Leather reinforced palms and padded thumb loops add comfort, while a non-slip pull strap back adjusts for a fit that’s just right.

 

Pros:

  • While designed with female players in mind, this softball glove is also used by men
  • Soft leather for easy break-in
  • Good padding

Cons:

  • Some users report very stiff leather and a longer break-in time
  • One report of poor-quality leather

Overall, the Rawlings Gamer series offers good quality and receives consistently positive reviews. Its’ many features contribute to both comfort and usability, and players report that it improves as time goes by. Occasional reports of substandard materials and/or workmanship make it necessary for potential buyers to double-check warranty information before purchasing.

Rawlings Liberty Advanced Softball Glove Series

The Rawlings Liberty Advanced Softball Glove Series offers quality materials and workmanship, and is available in incremental sizes to provide a fantastic fit. Basket webbing snags fast-flying balls, and ample padding provides comfort. All-leather laces and an adjustable, non-slip pull strap back afford a custom fit. While configured to suit female athletes, many men report that this glove fits them well and provides the comfort and control they need.

Like many other top softball glove designs, this one comes in different configurations to suit the specific needs of infielders, outfielders, first basemen, and catchers. Each model comes in left-hand and right-hand throw, making for satisfied southpaws and righties alike.

Pros:

  • Attractive design
  • Highly adjustable
  • Deep pocket
  • Arrives 80% broken in
  • Made with high-quality materials

Cons:

  • Higher price than some other gloves

While the Rawlings Liberty Advanced Softball Glove comes at a higher price than some others, it offers years of playing fun. A great choice for someone who likes softball and plays frequently, it may not be well-suited to the occasional player who keeps budget first and foremost in mind.

Rawlings Player Preferred Outfield Glove

Offering the quality associated with Rawlings, the Player Preferred Outfield Glove offers versatility, comfort, and durability. An adjustable velcro strap provides a secure fit, while leather laces offer lasting performance.

Made with soft, full-grain leather, this softball glove comes in a brown color for a traditional look. Designed to hold its shape over time, it is easy to break in. A basket web stops balls quickly and securely. Available in a variety of sizes, this softball glove has a well-padded interior for comfort.

Pros:

  • Traditional appearance
  • Comfortable fit
  • Adjustable strap feels secure
  • Breaks in quickly and feels very soft afterward

Cons:

  • One report of broken webbing during first week of use
  • One report of broken laces during first week of use
  • Some buyers report receiving a different product than ordered

The Rawlings Player Preferred Outfielder Glove is a good all-around choice for recreational softball players who want a combination of affordability and quality. Made with traditional full-grain leather and in a time-honored style, it provides a blend of comfort and utility. Occasional reports of problems serve as a reminder to check the seller’s return policy in case the wrong product is shipped.

Rawlings Renegade Softball Glove Series

Available in your choice of Basket web or H web designs, the Rawlings Renegade softball glove features a pro-mesh shell and a leather palm with extra padding for protection from impacts. An affordable choice meant for recreational players, this glove offers lightweight performance and comes in both left- and right- hand throw configurations.

This softball glove requires only 10 percent player break-in, making it a good choice for replacing a glove mid-season or close to the beginning of softball season. Its Velcro ® strap makes it easy to adjust for a secure fit.

Pros:

  • Game-ready out of the box
  • Light weight
  • Available in different configurations to suit individual tastes
  • Surprisingly durable considering the affordable price

Cons:

  • May feel uncomfortable or take longer to break in when players have large hands
  • Occasional reports of torn mesh backing
  • Lots of synthetic material, less traditional in terms of look and feel

If you’re looking for a good mid-grade softball glove for casual or recreational play, this one is worth considering. It offers a combination of durability and good ball control while costing about the same as lower-grade softball gloves. If you’re a player with larger hands than average, you may want to choose a different glove; this one is reported to feel tight and uncomfortable on large-statured people.

Wilson A360 Series Slowpitch Softball Glove

Wilson’s A360 Series Slow Pitch Softball Glove is crafted of leather, with a closed back with hook and loop strap for easy adjustments. It is suitable for all positions, and if offers an attractive, traditional appearance, whichever color combination you choose.

The A360 Slowpitch Softball Glove features an oversized pocket for confident catches. It is built with durability in mind: A leather web and palm provide protection while performing better than synthetic materials.

Pros:

  • Surprising longevity considering the low price; many players report using for 5 years or longer
  • Breaks in well, particularly if you store it with a softball in the pocket
  • Highly adjustable, will accommodate larger players easily
  • Lightweight and comfortable

Cons:

  • Padding isn’t as thick as on some other gloves
  • Occasional reports of broken lacing

The Wilson A360 Slowpitch Softball Glove is ideal for recreational players who plan to spend time in different positions. Made with leather, it’s the more durable choice when compared to similarly priced synthetic softball gloves. Occasional reports of lacing defects mean that you may need to exchange the glove or replace the lacing if the warranty has expired.

Considerations when Choosing a Softball Glove

When choosing a softball glove, there are a few things to consider.

Price is the first consideration for most players. Everyone has a budget to work with, and it’s understandable that not every parent or player can justify the high cost of a professional, top-rated softball glove. Fortunately, manufacturers recognize this and work hard to deliver inexpensive softball gloves made with quality materials. Whatever your budget, you’ll find that there are plenty of options that offer good performance and plenty of protection from the stinging slap of a fast-flying softball.

Which hand do you throw with? You’ll want to choose a glove that fits the opposite hand. Right-hand throw gloves fit on the left hand, while left-hand throw softball gloves fit on the right hand.

Size and type come next: Be sure to choose the right size and type for your position, and select one that’s designed to accommodate your hand. If you’re between sizes, go for the larger size, which should feel good so long as it has an adjustable strap. Fit makes a big difference: A glove that’s too small will be uncomfortable and hinder your performance.

Many manufacturers offer enhancements that make it easier to close the mitt around the ball, as well as special shock absorbing materials for greater comfort.

Last but not least, shop with durability in mind. If you’re looking for a kids’ softball glove, then this is probably not as important as it is for an adult glove; a child’s glove will typically fit for a season or two and shouldn’t be expected to last as long.

Sources:

https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball/Play-USA-Softball/Certified-USA-Softball-Equipment

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USA_Softball

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Softball

https://www.wikihow.com/Choose-a-Softball-Glove